Dance and Drama Awards guide for academic year 2016 to 2017

Advice for Dance and Drama Award institutions for 2016 to 2017 academic year.

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This page relates to the 2016 to 2017 academic year. Please visit our student support page for the latest information.


The Dance and Drama Awards (DaDA) scheme offers income assessed support for tuition fees and living costs at a number of high quality private dance and drama institutions in England. DaDA funding is intended to provide a contribution to the costs of studying for talented young people who want to become professional actors and dancers.

Only students enrolled on the Trinity College London (TCL) Level 5 and 6 Professional Diplomas in Dance, Acting and Musical Theatre are eligible to receive DaDA funding.

The most important element of allocating DaDa funds is for institutions firstly to identify those students with the most potential to succeed in the profession based on their talent as judged at audition.

Information for 2016 to 2017

This guide covers the administration of DaDA funding in the 2016 to 2017 academic year.

In the 2015 to 2016 academic year the maximum income threshold for support was increased to £90,000 with some minor adjustments to the amount of support the scheme provides to students who have household incomes greater than £42,000. These thresholds continue to apply in the 2016 to 2017 academic year.

The government has announced an extension of the Advanced Learner Loans (ALLs). The Skills Funding Agency will send information to any DaDA institution that has successfully registered to offer ALLs.

DaDA funding in the 2016 to 2017 academic year

Income assessment

Students starting their course in the 2016 to 2017 academic year have their eligibility for support determined by the institution at audition, based on their talent and potential to succeed in the industry. The amount of financial support is also assessed by the institution, based on nationally set income bands. Household income is used to determine the level of financial support for both fees and living costs (maintenance).

The income assessment undertaken by the institution for the 2016 to 2017 academic year will normally be used to confirm the amount of tuition fee support for the whole of the student’s course. However, an income assessment must be undertaken each year to establish the amount of living costs support the student is entitled to receive.

In 2016 to 2017 institutions are required to undertake income assessments for new starters and for students who are returning for their second year using the income bands for the 2016 to 2017 academic year. For students who started their course in 2014 to 2015, institutions should undertake the income assessment for living costs using the income bands previously set.

Disabled students allowance (DSA)

Disabled students allowance (DSA) will continue to be available in 2016 to 2017 academic year. The assessment and processing of all DSA applications will be carried out by the EFA. The rules will remain the same and to apply for DSA, students must have been assessed as eligible for DaDA support (fees only or fees and living costs).

Institutions will remain responsible for paying general allowances and the costs of any skills study support work costs, which are usually relatively small amounts of money from their DaDA allocation of DaDA funding.

Student eligibility


To be eligible to receive DaDA funding in the 2016 to 2017 academic year, students must be aged between 16 and 23 at the start of the academic year to apply for a dance course, and aged between 18 and 23 at the start of the academic year to apply for an acting course.


DaDA funding can only be given to students who satisfy one of the following residency conditions:

  • they are a British citizen and have lived in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of their course
  • they have settled status and have been ordinarily resident in the UK, for at least 3 years prior to the start of their course
  • they are a national of any European Union (EU) country or the spouse or civil partner or child of an EU national, and have been ordinarily resident in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland for at least the 3 years prior to the start of their course
  • they are an EEA migrant worker who has the right to work in the UK, or the spouse or civil partner or child of an EEA migrant worker, who has been ordinarily resident in the UK at the start of their course, and have been ordinarily resident in the EEA or Switzerland throughout the 3 years prior to that or
    • a child of a Swiss national who is ordinarily resident in the UK at the start of their course and have been ordinarily resident in the EEA or Switzerland for the 3 years prior to that or
    • a child of a Turkish migrant worker who has the right to work in the UK and who is ordinarily resident in the UK at the start of their course and have been ordinarily resident in the EEA, Switzerland or Turkey for the 3 year period prior to that
  • they have been granted refugee status by the UK government, or are the spouse or civil partner or child of someone with refugee status, or have been granted Humanitarian Protection, or have EU Temporary Protection

DaDA living costs support is only available to students who are ordinarily resident in England, Scotland or Wales, in other words they are a permanent resident in the UK. Students from Northern Ireland and EU countries are not eligible to receive living cost support.

Allocations to institutions

DaDA funding provided by the EFA is intended to make a contribution towards the costs associated with the training provided by institutions. It is not intended to cover all costs in full.

EFA issues an allocations letter to each institution which confirms the total amount of DaDA funding given to the institution. Allocations statements were issued to institutions in March 2016.

Allocations should be used to support continuing students already in receipt of DaDA and new students enrolling and applying for DaDA for the first time.

Institutions should manage DaDA funding at their own discretion, including deciding whether they wish to allocate all the funding, or hold a small contingency fund to respond to issues later in the year but in accordance with the criteria set out here.

The allocation of funding has been calculated based on historical trends in take-up by income band. Each institution should be able to afford to support a broadly similar number of students this academic year as they have done historically.

Allocations will be made in 2 instalments: approximately two-thirds (70%) will be paid in August 2016 and the remaining one-third (30%) will be paid in April 2017.

Institutions may use up to 5% of the total allocation of funding to meet their administration costs.

Underspends and spending flexibility

Institutions should note that any under-spend in the 2016 to 2017 academic year will be reconciled by the EFA in-year in April and at end of the academic year. Under-spends cannot be carried forward into future years. Full details of the reconciliation process will be issued separately by the EFA in March 2017.

Institutions may use flexibility in their allocated DaDA funding at their discretion to provide partial funding for talented students where the institution is not able to provide the full support the student is entitled to on the basis of their household income due to insufficient funds being available.

Institutions must ensure they clearly communicate to students/parents how they are utilising this flexibility so that their use of DaDA funding remains clear and transparent. Institutions must ensure that any partial funding awards are given only after all students applying for DaDA support have been fully income assessed and the full process set out in the Application, Income Assessment and Payment of DaDA funding section below has been completed.

Application, income assessment and payment of DaDA funding

The most important element of allocating DaDa funds is for institutions firstly to identify those students with the most potential to succeed in the profession based on their talent as judged at audition.

When auditioning students, institutions must implement the “Auditioning and Interviewing for Dance and Drama Courses Code of Practice and Guidance on Devising an Appeals Procedure” (2nd edition) produced by the Council for Dance Education and Training (CDET) and Drama UK. Institutions must clearly set out the procedures students must follow to audition for a place and DaDA funding.

Provisional and final awards

Institutions may offer provisional awards and final awards. Provisional awards may be offered before a student formally accepts a place at the institution. No provisional awards should be offered to students prior to the 1 March. Final awards can only be offered when the student has formally accepted a place at the institution and where the completed DaDA application form has been received and a full income assessment has been completed.

The DaDA application/assessment flowchart sets out in broad terms the application and assessment process for funding. The flowchart is for indicative purposes only and the EFA recognises that individual institutions’ processes may vary.

DaDA application/assessment flowchart – new students (PDF, 150KB, 1 page)

Application forms to request DaDA funding

There are 2 types of application forms that institutions should use to assess the amount of DaDA funding a student is eligible to receive. The Self-Declaration of Income form should be used to initially assess the student’s household income to determine an indicative level of support they may be eligible to receive. This form should be completed by the student when a provisional place at the institution has been offered to them.

Once a student has formally accepted their place at the institution, they must complete the main DaDA application form to determine the final amount of funding they are eligible to receive. Funding can only be confirmed after the full income assessment has been completed and institutions should ensure that students fully understand this.

Income assessment

The student’s household income from the previous tax year is used for the income assessment to establish eligibility for DaDA funding. For the 2016 to 2017 academic year this is the 2015 to 2016 tax year. Income can be evidenced by a Tax Credit Award Notice, receipt of benefits or evidence from employment (P60, P9D, P11D) or self-employment. Unearned income such as shares and investments, savings, pensions and income from rental property should also be taken into account when assessing a student’s application.

Tuition fees

The income assessment undertaken at the start of the student’s course for tuition fees should normally last for the duration of the student’s course. However institutions have the discretion to re-assess fees at the end of the academic year (but not in-year) where the student can provide evidence that there has been a dramatic change of circumstances. Such as, where there has been a long term change which affects their current circumstance or where the change has occurred for the whole of the previous academic year.

In-year reassessment of tuition fee costs can only take place in exceptional cases such as disability or death of a parent or carer.

Living costs (maintenance)

Income assessment for funding living costs must be undertaken on an annual basis. Students are required to submit a new application for living costs support each academic year. In-year reassessment of living costs support can only take place in exceptional cases, such as disability or death of a parent or carer.

In-year reassessment independent students

A student may have their fees and living costs application reassessed in-year if their circumstances change and they can provide evidence that they have become an ‘independent’ student, that is, they can evidence that they are either married; have financially supported themselves for 3 years or more; are the natural or adoptive parent of a child who lives with them; have no living parents; or are estranged from their parents. An independent student reassessment is undertaken on the student’s household income and that of their spouse or partner (if they have one).

Confirmation of DaDA funding

When the student’s application has been fully assessed and the evidence they have supplied has been checked, institutions should notify students who are eligible for funding in writing to confirm the amount of tuition fees and, any living costs funding they are entitled to receive.

Where a student is not offered DaDA funding, the institution must write to the student explaining the reasons for this, setting out details of their appeals procedure. If the student believes that the process used to come to this decision contains irregularities, they must be given the right to appeal under the institution’s procedures. If the institution is found to be in error, they must compensate the student appropriately.

While written confirmation of DaDA funding should not be given by the institution until the application has been assessed and the evidence checked, institutions may wish to make provisional DaDA funding offers at an earlier stage (see Application, Income Assessment and Payment of DaDA funding section above). Any provisional amount of DaDA funding stated by the institution to the student must be clear that it is on the basis of the information supplied by the student on the self-declaration form judged against the published DaDA income assessment scales. The institution must make clear that the funding amount quoted to them is not guaranteed but is subject to verification and confirmation via the main application form at a later date.

Payment of DaDA funding to students

Institutions should make living costs payments directly to students once they have been fully assessed as eligible for DaDA. Institutions are free to determine the frequency of payments to students; however it is recommended that payments are made in instalments, for example, on a termly basis. This will ensure that students do not receive funding that they are not entitled to, if, for example, they withdraw from their course part way through the year. Where an institution issues a large amount of funding to a student, they should be aware that this is at their own risk. No additional funding can be claimed from the EFA in the event of any overpayment to students by institutions.

Institutions should make clear to students that continued receipt of DaDA is conditional on them meeting agreed standards set by the institutions, such as, relating to attendance, behaviour and progression.

Communications, governance and monitoring

Institutions are responsible for ensuring that information about DaDA is available to students through their literature and websites and that this information is up to date. The EFA will regularly review and update its’ student facing and institution focused information on GOV.UK.

Management information returns (MI)

At the end of October 2016, institutions are required to submit an in-year MI return to provide data on students in receipt of DaDA in the 2016 to 2017 academic year.

In July 2017, at the end of the 2016 to 2017 academic year, institutions will be required to complete and submit an end of year MI return to support the monitoring of the DaDA scheme. Reconciliation will be undertaken at the end of the academic year. An in-year reconciliation will also take place in April 2017 if institutions identify a significant amount of unused funding in the in-year MI return. Full details about the reconciliation process and the MI requirements will be communicated to institutions separately in March 2017.

Audit and scheme protection

Administration and allocation of DaDA is subject to the EFA’s audit process. Institutions should maintain accurate and up to date records of students and funding for audit purposes and to provide accurate management information (MI). This includes recording students in receipt of DaDA on the budget management spread sheet for the 2016 to 2017 academic year.

The EFA may withdraw DaDA funding at any time, from any institution that fails to comply with all aspects of this information on GOV.UK, with Health and Safety, Equal Opportunities or any other legal requirements applying to the institution or if it is not able to provide sufficient evidence that it is financially viable.

DaDA funding may also be withdrawn where the institution fails to meet the qualification requirements of the DaDA scheme, that is, it is no longer validated by Trinity College London as eligible to offer the Level 5 and 6 Diploma qualifications and to maintain levels of quality, relevance to employers’ needs and the standards of performance that are currently set for DaDA.

Institutions will be subject to governance and audit regimes which include the requirement for Ofsted inspections and the publication of inspection reports. They must also permit any person authorised by Ofsted to inspect the institution and afford to such person all the facilities they may reasonably require for making such an inspection as and when required, in line with Ofsted powers of entry and access to documents and its Common Inspection Framework, in accordance with section 131 and 132 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006.

Only institutions whose provision is assessed as Outstanding (Grade 1) or Good (Grade 2) at Ofsted inspection will be eligible to offer DaDA funding. The EFA will cease to fund institutions if they do not maintain their levels of quality unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Ofsted inspections are undertaken in line with the Common Inspection Framework and other guidance current at the time. The Common Inspection Framework and the handbook for inspections can be viewed on the GOV.UK. All inspection reports are published.

Institutions should ensure they are fulfilling their responsibilities for safeguarding all students, and also ensure they are aware of the Government’s Prevent Strategy about safeguarding young people from extremism and radicalisation: the prevent strategy.

In the event that an institution ceases operation, students will be allowed to transfer to another institution with DaDA funding with prior agreement of the EFA. In these circumstances the EFA will fund the remaining period of the student’s support at the same rate at that which applies at the new institution.

Further information

Information for students on the DaDA scheme is available on GOV.UK.

Published 21 March 2016
Last updated 16 September 2016 + show all updates
  1. updated for 2016 to 2017
  2. First published.

Guidance and regulation

  1. Dance and drama awards: income scales

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